Rev. Dr. Sergio E. Arevalo, Jr.
Eagle Rock Lutheran Church
Los Angeles, California
November 10, 2013
God’s not dead! He’s alive! Thank you very much for this congregation for your invitation to me to speak before you this morning. Thank you Kuya Raul Castillo for inviting me here.
Who are the characters in this passage? Sadducees, Pharisees, Jesus and God. Sadducees were not organized movement as such. However, they had a system of ideas and values common among the upper classes of Jerusalem (including many of the chief priests). They derived their beliefs from Torah, the first five books of the Law (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy). They did not acknowledge the rest of the Hebrew Bible. Sadducees denied resurrection and the existence of angels.
Matthew Henry says:
The Sadducees deny that there is any resurrection, any future state, so anastasis may signify; not only no return of the body to life, but no continuance of the soul in life, no world of spirits, no state of recompense and retribution for what was done in the body.
The Pharisees (v.39) held a deep respect for what they called their “Oral Tradition.” Belief in resurrection was a late arrival in Judaism. It was referred to the Book of Daniel and in the Wisdom Literature originating from the Jewish communities living outside Palestine. These writings were accepted by the Pharisees, but Sadducees did not acknowledge them.
The text referred to was found in the Book of Deuteronomy 25:5-6 which concerned “inheritance and ownership of land.” Inheritance issues had to do with the continuation of the bloodline necessary because of its implications for the ownership of property. Here’s the passage:
Deu 25:5 If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no son, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband’s brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband’s brother unto her.
Deu 25:6 And it shall be, that the firstborn which she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother which is dead, that his name be not blotted out of Israel (Revised Version).
The question had been used often enough in debate with Pharisees with neither of the parties convincing the other. The Sadducees used the question again to outsmart Jesus. However, Jesus explained unto them:
Luk 20:34 . . . The sons of this world marry, and are given in marriage:
Luk 20:35 but they that are accounted worthy to attain to that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage:
Luk 20:36 for neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection (Revised Version).
Resurrection made continuation of the bloodline irrelevant. The good thing here, Jesus used that opportunity to teach resurrection.
By the way, what is resurrection? Resurrection simply means “making alive the dead.” Don’t ask me how God will do it scientifically. However, we can find a hint from our passage:
Luk 20:38 Now he is not the God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him.
In other words, if the Father is God of the living he is also the Lord of Resurrection! Anybody who is dead will bring to life by God of resurrection. So if we are in God through Christ, his power of resurrection will purify/sanctify us until the consummation of a resurrected body.
THE CHILDREN OF MEN VERSUS THE CHILDREN OF GOD IN HEAVEN
Luk 20:34 And Jesus said unto them, The sons of this world marry, and are given in marriage:
Luk 20:35 but they that are accounted worthy to attain to that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage (RV).
There is a great deal of difference between the state of the children of men on earth, and that of the children of God in heaven.
We as Children of men have desires. We have desires simply because that is how God created us. He created us with senses. Sense is “any of the faculties, as sight, hearing, smell, taste, or touch, by which humans and animals perceive stimuli originating from outside or inside the body” (Dictionary.com). Senses trigger our desire to something or someone. Marriage is a culmination of a desire to have a good family.
John Wesley explains that “The children of this world – The inhabitants of earth, marry and are given in marriage – As being all subject to the law of mortality; so that the species is in need of being continually repaired.”
Henry believes that:
The children of this world are dying and going off the stage, and therefore they marry and give their children in marriage, that they may furnish the world of mankind with needful recruits, that as one generation passeth away another may come, and that they may have some of their own offspring to leave the fruit of their labours to, especially that the chosen of God in future ages may be introduced, for it is a godly seed that is sought by marriage.
In other words, multiplication of men is necessary so that God could harvest good seeds for His Kingdom. Some philosophers argue that God’s fullness is due to the subject of His love. God is God simply because somebody is worshiping him as God. Most Christians rebut that God is God even without us human beings.
The children of God in heaven cannot die any more; and this comes in as a reason why they do not marry. Henry says, “in this dying world there must be marriage, in order to the filling up of the vacancies made by death; but, where there are no burials, there is no need of weddings. This crowns the comfort of that world that there is no more death there, which sullies all the beauty, and damps all the comforts, of this world. Here death reigns, but thence it is forever excluded.”
Luk 20:36 for neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.
The resurrected ones, the children of God in heaven will not experience death since God is with them.
THE LORD OF RESURRECTION IS GOD OF THE LIVING
It is wonderful to believe that we have the living God! God says to Moses, “Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God” (Exo. 3:6).
God did not say, I was the God of thy father…I was the God of Abraham.. I was the God of Isaac…I was the God of Jacob, but He said I am…the God.
Two things that we can see here. (1) God lives then and now, God is eternal. Meaning he has no birth and no death, no beginning and no ending. He is the Alpha and Omega. (2) Our God is the God of past, the present and the future. He is the God of “thy fathers,” the God of us in the present, and He is the God of the future, the Lord of resurrection.
One day I was waiting for a call on my cellphone. The whole day had gone and he did not call, so I decided to call and look what I found out. My phone’s battery was drained. Oh! That’s why nobody can contact me likewise I cannot contact anybody. So what I did was I grabbed my phone cable and plugged it to the wall socket, and I waited for half an hour and presto, my phone was energized and it was like new! That’s a symbol of resurrection. If we are connected with Jesus, with God, we don’t worry about the future, the death, since God of the living is the God of resurrection!
(Let’s have a simple dynamics here. You may close your eyes this moment to make this effective)
I am thinking that humans are like my phone. Humans die. You and I will die someday. Think yourself as dead. When we die our power is gone, our beauty is gone, our youth is gone, talents are gone, all our possessions are gone. Gone…gone…gone…where are we going now if we are gone?…. Where? What’s our life after our death?
Think now that the hands of God are extending to you. Holding your head, your shoulder, your whole body. He is embracing you. He is hugging you, and when he is hugging you, your power is returning….slowly…slowly … but you feel that you are recharging…God is healing you, sickness is gone, your beauty is returning, your youth is blossoming like a beautiful flower. You are now alive like a new flower. Like a new born baby. You are now resurrected!
You have now the right to shout Hallelujah! Hallelujah!